Greed is Good: Big Hits Define Top Safety

The Packers had a formal interview at the Scouting Combine with this playmaking safety and potential first-round pick. He packs a punch as a tackler and was involved in 16 turnover-producing plays during his three seasons.

In "Wall Street," the movie's villain, Gordon Gekko, famously said, "Greed is good."

Calvin Pryor, one of the top two or three safety prospects in this year's draft because of his hitting and playmaking ability, agrees.

"Just allow me to be me. Put me in position to make plays," Pryor said on Sunday at the Scouting Combine. "I love watching the Steelers and the Seahawks because they're so aggressive. They're greedy. They're all about toughness, and that's the type of system I want to be a part of."


"You don't really like to give up much," Pryor said.

The Green Bay Packers, for potentially the only time in franchise history, had exactly zero interceptions and forced fumbles from their safeties in 2013. Pryor had three interceptions and two forced fumbles during his final season at Louisville. In his three years at Louisville, he rang up nine forced fumbles and seven interceptions.

Assuming safety is deemed a major need — that assumption could have made last year, too, and the Packers ignored it in the draft — Pryor could be a possibility with the 21st selection of the first round. Pryor, who entered the draft following his junior season, had a formal interview with the Packers and almost every other team at last week's Combine.

At 6-foot and 207 pounds, he packs a wallop and would provide a much-needed physical presence. At one point, he knocked an opposing player out of the game in three consecutive games, including this one that has about 29,000 hits on YouTube.

"I had a few" big hits, Pryor said with a laugh on Sunday at the Scouting Combine.

Considering the copycat nature of the NFL — with Seattle winning the Super Bowl behind a stifling defense keyed by ballhawking Earl Thomas and enforcer Kam Chancellor — safety might be considered more of a premium position this year than in past drafts.

Calvin Pryor goes through ball drills at the Combine.
Brian Spurlock/USA Today Sports
"It's a great need for the NFL," Pryor said. "With the NFL being a passing league, you need more DBs out there that can make plays on the ball."

Pryor and Alabama's HaHa Clinton-Dix are considered the best safeties in this draft.

Pryor, while acknowledging he hadn't seen much of Clinton-Dix, said he is the best safety in the draft.

"I do feel like that," he said. "I'm very confident in my game and my film speaks for itself."

What does that film show?

"Just all the different things I can do," he aid. "I can play strong safety, free safety; I can come up and hit, I feel like I can cover. And I'm a leader."

Pryor, while lacking Chancellor's overwhelming height, fits in Chancellor's mold as a physical player. Playmaking aside, that's where Pryor would be an enormous upgrade over the slightly built Jennings.

"For me, Calvin prior is like a bigger, stronger Bob Sanders," NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said before the Scouting Combine, a comment he echoed at the Combine. "He flies around, he hits people, he explodes everywhere. I think he is a little better in the box than he is on the back end."

So much of playing safety is being the leader of the secondary. Pryor said he shared the "quarterback" role with Louisville's other starting safety. Intelligence is vital at the position.

"Safeties are all about angles," Pryor said. "Football is an angle game. You have to have an IQ and you have to understand formations and motion and you have to adjust to those things, so you have to be a smart football player at safety."

Smart with those angles and smart with what to do after getting there. While Pryor has a reputation of being a punishing tackler, he's aware of the direction of the NFL and how the league has banned big hits on what it deems "defenseless" players.

"In today's game, you have to watch how you tackle people and make sure you don't have no head-to-head collisions. I mainly just try to wrap up and use my shoulder pads," Pryor said. He added later: "I'm just going to be myself and I'm going to stay aggressive and play like I have been playing."

Agree or disagree?: Discuss hot Packers topics in our, free forums. Leave Bill a question in the subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum.

Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at

Viking Update Top Stories